Of pumpkins and zombies - autumnal October events
Autumn is here! I’ve dug out my favourite leaf-kicking boots and my Matrix-style long leather coat (which looks hilarious at 5’3), scowled at the new influx of students talking loudly and importantly in my local coffee shop (they’ll keep), and found last year’s safety goggles for this year’s conker wars (bring it on, children).
This time of year has been my favourite since I was a kid, partly because of the purty autumn leaves drifting down, but mostly because it was the start of term again. I was a weird child. But even in the world of non-academia, autumn is still a trusty time of year – scrumpy cider is practically mandatory, you can legitimately add several tablespoonfuls of curry powder to soups without getting shouted at by ungrateful friends who’ll be sharing the pot, and the footie has started again. And, apart from Hallowe’en, there are festivals, events and all sorts of silliness happening around the country. Bring it on.
Hallowe’en is of course worthy of its own blog, and there’s still November to go, but if you’re also an autumn aficionado, here are a few things to do this month to get you wrapped up and out of the house. There are zombies too.
Spalding Pumpkin Parade: Harvest festivals have been happening in autumn since year dot, and to get truly into the autumn mood there should be pumpkins involved somewhere. The Lincolnshire town of Spalding is Europe’s biggest pumpkin grower, which probably means ‘grows more pumpkins than anywhere else in Europe’ rather than ‘grows monster pumpkins’. Taking place all day on Friday 5 October, the event includes live music, fireworks, a fancy dress competition and a pumpkin-lit parade through the streets on a pumpkin coach.
To stay overnight, take your lantern to Lazy Acre in Holbeach six miles from Spalding, which is open all year and which has pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £14 a night. Pitches come with electric hook-up and the price includes one dog if you’re bringing the family friend.
Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship: Giant bowls of porridge are another reason to welcome the approach of autumn and winter – especially with lots of unhealthy maple syrup poured on. The World Porridge Making Champion 2012 will be crowned in Inverness this Saturday (6 Oct) – hopefully not with a giant bowl of porridge – and there’ll also be pipers, food stalls, events and a farmers’ market. Now in its nineteenth year, this year’s championship will see porridgey enthusiasts make for the Highlands from all over the world.
If you’re bringing your tourer or motorhome to Inverness to see how to properly make porridge, make a week of it and book a Highlands break: Sunnyside Croft Touring Caravan & Camping Site is on the ‘Road to the Isles' coastal route to use as a base for exploring the area. It’s on a family-run croft and is open all year round, with hardstanding pitches from £16 a night.
Ely Apple Festival: Cider? Yup, and apple sausages, cookery demos, a longest apple peel competition and, er, apple and spoon racing, all at what’s billed as ‘East Anglia’s biggest celebration of the great British apple’. This might seem a bit random, but it turns out that there’s been an Apple Day each October in Britain for over twenty years, with events up and down the land to celebrate. Great pip.
The Ely Apple Festival is on 20 October, and there’s also the Cockington Apple Day in Torquay on 14 October as well as events taking place all around the country, including several CAMRA cider festivals.
For pitching up in Cambridgeshire for the Ely festival, Tall Trees Leisure Park at nearby Wisbech has spaces for tents, trailer tents, tourers and motorhomes, is another site that’s open all year round and welcomes dogs and student groups. Prices start from £8.25 a night with 34% off standard pitches until 28 March 2013. The farm shop on site sells all sorts of gourmet goods and local produce – and there’s also a coffee shop dishing up cream teas at weekends.
Brighton Zombie Walk: Y’know, maybe this event is not named correctly. Zombie ‘lurch’ would be more appropriate, surely, as ‘walk’ brings to mind sedate little old ladies ambling down the pier, not flesh-eating monsters limping along bloodthirstily. But the zombie walk is also known as ‘Beach of the Dead’, which sounds much better. It all shuffles off from the West Pier at 3pm on 20 October and is followed afterwards by an ‘80s Zombie Prom & After Party’. Bring extra blood to touch up your makeup; you’ll want to look your worst.
To make it a Brighton break, take your zombie feet to The Barn Caravan Park in nearby Lancing, which has local bus and train services within a mile. Pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes start from £16 a night, and student groups are welcome.
Rounding the month off and going into November, anyone who doesn’t want to take their zombie gear off or who wants to add some lacy gloves to the mix can reel along to the Whitby Goth Weekend in North Yorkshire from Hallowe’en until Bonfire Night (a long weekend then). There’ll be music, dancing and something called a ‘Gothic Bring and Buy’ which apparently means a clothing sale rather than bringing a Goth friend to Whitby and buying another to take home. Aw.
More autumnal blogs coming up soon, including ghost trains and haunted castles for Hallowe’en – watch this spooky space...